Reflections Crossing the Atlantic

The first time I heard the word cancer, I was in the fifth grade. We were all forbidden to ever breathe the word in front of him, lest our grandfather give up. Long before hospice, his world became a hospital bed in my grandparents’ farmhouse living room. At thirteen, my cousin and I would spend Saturday nights having popcorn parties and sleeping on the lumpy sofa bed, taking our turn nursing the salty old man so our grandmother could get a night’s sleep. He was bed-ridden for five years before his life was over.

Three years after his death, as a senior in high school, I was eagerly awaiting my first trip to Europe when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, a secret she kept from us until a week before her surgery. Before I ascended the Zugspitze or had my first beer in the Hofbrauhaus, I made a memorable trip to her hospital room, where she insisted I fulfill my childhood dream, in spite of her convalescence. Twenty five years and nine grandchildren later, we watched her expire in bits and pieces from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

With such vivid memories of the possible devastation of this disease, I ask myself over and over why I see my particular bout with cancer as just another one of life’s remarkable and fascinating journeys. A turn in the road. An unescapable pot hole, even. But an adventure instead of a bell toll, nonetheless.

Maybe it’s some curious inner light. An indomitable spirit. Or maybe it’s the incredible love that I experienced with amazing folks at my art sale last week and my “inner circle” who bid me such a memorable Bon Voyage last night. But I have to think that part of it is that same artistic vision which sees something beautiful on a blank canvas and is bold enough to make the first brush stroke. Facing trials with creative energy is just the only way I know how to live. Discovering cancer in my body has led me to seek a cure I can live with. That cure leads me to a tiny town near my teenage Bavarian stomping ground. Even more astounding, without meeting cancer in my own body, I wouldn’t have the same urgent passion and conviction to paint my corner of the world, wherever it may be.

The subject of my most recent commission. To be completed when I return!

12 thoughts on “Reflections Crossing the Atlantic

  1. Beautiful post. Keep up the positivity! You are going to do great and cancer will be no match for such a strong , positive, fighting attitude! Lots of love and hugs, positive vibes and cancer fighting thoughts for you. Enjoy Germany to the fullest!

  2. Dear Bruce,
    Your attitude and peaceful spirit are the reasons that your body will heal, you’ve got it right and are an inspiration. Many hugs to you!

  3. Lovely work from your soul ~

    Not only are you an artist with brush but with pen also!

    p.s. I lived in Bavaria many years ago and your images are capturing my heart. thank u!

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